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The Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond, (CD-ROM Included), 2nd Edition

The Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond, (CD-ROM Included), 2nd Edition

Elaine Biech

ISBN: 978-1-118-04749-1

Jan 2011, Pfeiffer

340 pages



Designed as the go-to reference for managing a consulting business, The Business of Consulting is candid, practical, and eminently useful. Fine-tuned to address the changes in today’s business environment, this vital resource outlines the basics for managing a consulting practice and shows how to:

  • Develop a business plan
  • Market your business
  • Charge for your services
  • Build a client relationship
  • Grow the business
  • Ensure your continued professional growth
  • Make money in the profession

List of Exhibits on the CD-ROM xv

Foreword, by Jim Kouzes xix

Preface xxiii

ONE So You Want to Be a Consultant 1
What Is Consulting? 1
Four Ways to Get Started 2
Why Consulting Now? 7
Myths About Consulting 13
Rewards and Realities of Consulting 18
Just What Are You Getting Yourself Into? 20

TWO Talents and Tolerance 25
Skills for Success 26
Personal Characteristics of Successful Consultants 29
Roles You May Play 30
Signs of a Mediocre Consultant 32
Your Personal Situation 33
Caution: Business Owner Ahead 35
Entrepreneurial Characteristics 35

THREE Dollars and Sense 41
How Much Money Do You Require? 41
How Much Should You Charge? 44
Selecting a Pricing Structure 51
Other Pricing Decisions 54
Other Charges 55
Fee Increases 57
Ethics of Pricing 58
Money Discussions 60
Value of a Guarantee 61

FOUR Starting . . . 63
What's in a Name? 64
Choosing an Accountant 66
Business Structure 67
Business Plans 69
Start-Up Costs 86
Your Niche 87
Your Image 88
Experience 93

FIVE . . . And Staying in Business 99
A Marketing Plan 100
Do I Need a Website? 107
Surprising but Practical Thoughts on Marketing 108
113 Tactics for Low-Budget Marketing 114
Contacts with Potential Clients 122
Proposals and Contracts 132
How to Refuse an Assignment 140
Ways to Stay in Business 146

SIX The Cost of Doing Business 147
Plan for the Worst 148
Watch Your Cash Flow 149
Track Expenses 156
Set Aside Petty Cash 163
Charge Your Client 166
Project Revenues 170
Deal with Bad Debts 172
Keep an Eye on Your Numbers 172
Protect Your Capital Investments 176

SEVEN Building a Client Relationship 179
The First Meeting 181
Four Phases of Building a Client-Consultant Partnership 182
How to Improve the Relationship Continuously 194
It's the People 197
How to Maintain the Relationship After the Project Is Finished 197
More Value for the Client 198
How Many Clients Do I Need? 200
Ensure Success 200

EIGHT Growing Pains 203
Adding People 204
Growing Without Adding People 218
Expand Your Geographical Market 227
Do Everything You Can to Grow Your Current Business 229
Final Thoughts 230
NINE The Ethics of the Business 231
Consultant to Client 232
Consultant to Consultant 238
Client to Consultant 242
Code of Ethics 243

TEN Exude Professionalism 245
Measuring Up 246
Continuing to Learn 252
Balancing Your Life and Your Business 255
Managing Your Time 258
Giving Back 265
A Personal Checkup 265

ELEVEN Do You Still Want to Be a Consultant? 267
A Week in a Consultant's Life 268
Visualizing Success 278
Taking Action 282
Getting Ready 282

Reading List 287

Index 289

About the Author 299
How to Use the CD-ROM 301